First you need to know that only a Z visa allows you to work legally in China - no exceptions. Ignore the blah-blah-blah bullshit of recruiters and job agents who try like hell to convince you otherwise. L, F, M, and X visas will get you into China for sure, but if you get caught working on one of these visas - even off the books as a private tutor, you WILL be arrested and jailed as an illegal alien...and then fined $2,000...and then...deported.......and then...blacklisted from ever working in China again. Got it?
Despite these facts there is a new scam going viral asking foreigners to work in a "cultural exchange program" that require "M" visas. 99% of these recruiters are scam using fictitious unlicensed, unregistered organizations, associations, and foundations printing their own fake invitation letters to sell you for $500 to $1,500 USD. They even put up fake web sites and talk about their many phony achievements and even have testimonials and great reviews posted on line. All fabricated horseshit friends.
A real M visa is obtained only if you have a real invitation letter that comes from a certified and registered dance, art, music, or culture academy that is registered with SAIC, the China Ministry of Culture and your embassy. The real list in China has 127 NGOs, NPOs, and a handful of for profit commercial enterprises. The fake list has over 380 bogus organizations with impressive names like "China Disabled Children Foundation". as an example. Sounds like a charity right? But charities are not classified as a "Cultural Entity" in China.
Some recruiters even steal and use the letterhead of real cultural exchange programs like the Confucius Institute or Beijing Historical Foundation, or even UNESCO. Simply put, all the real cultural exchange programs in China have their own HR people and do not use private agencies, recruiters or job agents. Ignore this warning and your wallet will go on a quick crash diet and you will find yourself sleeping behind bars in China eating the worst "food" known to mankind until one of your family members shows up with the cash to bail you out.
Other scam artists will tell you that you will get your Z visa after you arrive in China. Again - total bullshit. Do not get on an airplane without a real z visa in your passport or you will fly yourself right into a Chinese hornet's next. While you get stung the recruiter just laughs and counts his/her money.
Last but not least, watch out for the scam recruiters who overnight you "Z visas" that they tell you to stick them to a certain page of your passport. All legitimate visas come from the Chinese embassy or consulate! Yet there are dozens of people paying $1,000 for these DIY Z visas because they are too lazy to check what the phony recruiters told them. And if one of them asks you to send funds in advance by Western Union - a definite fraud. Thus concludes our lesson today on China visa fraud - Part I.